While the headlines haven’t exactly been kind to diesels over the past year, here’s some news which should brighten the spirits of oil-burner fans: Chevrolet’s Cruze diesel has achieved an EPA rating of 52 mpg on the highway.
And there’s even more good news for traditionalists who love the third pedal, as that figure was reached using the six-speed manual gearbox. In comparison, automatic models will eek out 47 mpg. The little engine that could is a 1.6-liter turbo unit that puts our 137 horsepower and a quite respectable 240 pound-feet of torque. It’s sure to have road warriors who might have never even considered a diesel take a look at the fuel-sipping Chevy. Do the math, and you’ll discover 52 mpg highway is enough to travel over 700 miles on a full tank.
Making the EPA number even more impressive is that there’s no hybrid system in play here, as the thriftiness comes entirely thanks to good, but far from old-fashioned, internal combustion. Now, it’s worth noting that hybrids like the Prius will still best the Cruze’s overall rating of 37 mpg. That said, Chevy has every right to be proud here, and now sells the vehicle with the best highway mileage of any non-EV or hybrid sold in the United States.
Of course, venture off to the enthusiast forums, and you’ll find plenty of naysayers, who’ll jump to point out that three decades ago, Honda was getting 30 mpg combined out of its Civic. Because, you know, the Internet. But frankly, it’s a ridiculous comparison — and you only need to get into a 1990 Civic to see why. Not to single out Honda here, as we loved our 1990 Accord, but cars of that era faced such a different set of standards regarding safety, emissions, and general comfort, that it’s less of an apples-to-oranges comparison than it is a manatee-to-laptop one. It’s pretty silly.
So if you’ve never driven a diesel, swing by your local AutoNation dealer and take the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze diesel for a spin. You might be pleasantly surprised.
*Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.